Smoking has always been a controversial debate over so many years ago and up to current issue. Smoking has faced relentlessly myriad of opinions, judgment and perspective whether it brings about benefits or disadvantages. The rising trend denotes that the number of smokers has increased tremendously over the years. To make things worse, the rising trend of number of youth engaging in this habit is relatively huge and had made world wide parents to ponder and worried. As rising trend of smokers in youths will jeopardize their health and subsequently deteriorating their average lifespan. As saying goes, the puff is the start of a habit. Many efforts to halt smoking among youth has been started and among one of the early effort was SmokeBuster, the first UK club which started in Manchester back in 1985 with main agenda to encourage anti-smoking through media. (Teijlingen and Bruce, 1999) According to TeenHealth.com (2012), each day 6,000 children under the age of 18 start smoking. Of those, 2,000 will keep smoking. That is 800,000 new teen smokers every year.
The question on whether cigarette smoking should be banned just as drug consumption has been lingering in the center of many debates for so many years. From an unbiased standpoint, many people have their every legal rights to smoke, as we practice freedom of actions but the ethical dilemma rises is when our actions could cause harmful, unintended consequences to others. The by-product of smoking could be passed to the surrounding non-smokers leaving even a larger fraction of negative health consequences. This term is no longer foreign to us, none other than passive smokers. The non-smoker will have indirectly received the smokes, which is more harmful than the active smoker. Rightful or not, the degree of hazardous substance due to smoking could be the deciding point of whether smoking should be banned or not. According to a research carried out by Cuthbert and Nickson (1999), whether smoking should be banned in public places like restaurant, has a thorough perspective on both aspects from smokers and non-smoker whether it is a feasible idea in the reality. The research is carried out because there is increased concern for passive smokers especially the workers health welfare in the food and beverages line. The main concern for restaurant operators was decline of business due to discrimination of smoking as alcohol, food and smoking deemed to be inextricable as a combination of pleasures. The finding has proved that to ban smoking in restaurants will not have a major impact on business decline where else, it gives a competitive advantage for the restaurants. This is probably; the rising trend of sophisticated people who are more health conscious and prefer to have an environment that is smoke free.
Harmful effects of smoking has been proven scientifically in health, causing indirect consequences of second hand smoker but this is not one of their negative consequences. It could create a chain of domino negative consequences such as rising criminals or social problems associated with smoking. This happens usually in third world country where addicts willing to do crimes in order to get the satisfaction through the puff. It also will cause a cornucopia of negative influences in the society like spend thrift and other addictions like drug abuse. Indirectly, government has to spend more in their health care benefits providing unnecessary entitlement for rising medical bills instead of utilizing it in other human capital aspect.
On the other hand, the cigarette industry like Dunhill and Dji Sam Soe have been the players in this industry for a very long time creates job opportunities around the world. This helped our world employment rate high especially in poor countries like Zimbabwe. It also has been a source of income for most of the government as a huge profit could be earned from the tax cuts levied on cigarettes. This pool of funds could translate to the advancement in technology and infrastructure that will benefit the nations in return. On a level of individual benefits, smoking has been claimed to improve performance in work, concentration and as a way of releasing stress. Some even use it as an appetite suppressant or claim it has health benefits such as its ability to lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Despite people are well informed and well aware off on the advantages and disadvantages of smoking, they still smoke. This has ignited the curiosity of the reason why they do it in the first place. In order to tackle the issue of whether smoking should be banned or not, the most important way is to find the core issue that why smoking happens in the first place. This has lead to the main objective of the research in reasons people smoke.
Chapter II: Literature Review
In this chapter, there are five journals selected to further substantiate our research on factor that causes people to smoke. The literatures of work of these five authors are chosen because it is closely related to the hypothesis that intended to be investigated. Each author has definite point of view and further reinforced by their researches.
According to Jones, and Rossiter, (2008), the rising trend of smoking among teenagers is the act of smoking deemed to be normal in most of the social environment. It is no longer forbidden or seems to be explicit in daily lives. Secondly, teenagers who are still at the developing stage decided to choose between liking and disliking smoking to portray their self-image. The third reason is vicarious learning. Teenagers as aficionados of actors or pop stars tend to adopt and emulate the act of smoking. These reasons show how smoking had make its mark among teenagers which affecting them directly and indirectly and as consequences, they added these reasons to the rising number of smokers in the world.
According to Strong, and Eftychia, (2006), family plays an important factor in influencing their children to smoke. It also stated that children were twice likely to become smokers if both parents were smokers. Girls are relatively easier to be influenced compared to boys. The author stated that children of single parent are easy to pick up smoking disregard whether the other members of the family has such habit. Smoking creates a gateway for them to escape from unhappiness faced in family problem and reduce their stress. This is the main reason why people get hooked to smoking because most people spend a huge part of their time with family.
One survey Enzler and Bower (2005), conducted by government-sponsored in the United Kingdom, shows smokers tend to smoke because they are curious, influence and encouragement from peers in school, social place or company. Half of the respondents in the survey thought smoking is a part of growing up process and they feel like social reject if the do not conform to this act. Smoking behavior has made its waves to become one of the most important activities in social culture among young adults. If they do not follow the trend, they will be dejected and alienated by their peers. Some even been ridiculed by their peers and deemed to be debilitating the group’s reputation. In this case, it is easier to follow the herd than to fight against it. Our surroundings tend to influence us unintentionally, and mingling with the wrong group can affect one’s upbringing especially smoking habit.
Tobacco advertisements are highly related with the burgeoning number of smokers, especially among teenagers and children (Hastings and Aitken, 1995). Advertisement portrays that smoking is fashionable and showing that smoking is something an adult will do or should do. In the research held in Australia, the UK and the US have shown consistent differences between under-age smokers and non-smokers of the same age in terms of a variety of measures of the awareness about cigarette advertising. The result shows that underage smokers have repetitive memory about tobacco advertisement. Influence from advertisement somehow is not the main reason for people to start smoking unlike influences from family, friends, or their favorite role models. This is because repetitive advertisement and airtime tends to evoke our sub-conscious mind every now and then making us to accept smoking is a part of our culture.
According to Wolburg (2008), he provided the scientific perspective on why do most people incline to smoke on the first puff because nicotine, an ingredient in cigarette is simply so addictive: second is that too many campaigns have failed the effective way to quit smoke: thirdly bars are one of the place for people to be smoke addict. Nicotine produces an elevated feeling and make people hooked into it on the first try. People will keep on looking back for the same feeling as a residual effect of nicotine to get the same high and unnoticing, it becomes a habit. When they realize it was a little bit too late as they plunged down into this addiction. Other than that myriads of campaigns have been executed but failed far behind of its objective to halt people from smoking. This is because campaigns have failed to disseminate the right information and awareness to smokers. Without a general idea how smoking can be an addiction, simple man will take this matter lightly and might try out when his friends insisted he or she to try the first stick.
These are the main reasons obtained from the literature by these authors. Most of the reasons are inter-linked with each other and their reasoning is further reinforced with journals and their own research methods. Mainly the authors agree that most of the common reason that people started smoking is due to the influence of their environment. This is further made worse when nowadays people accept smoking like other general habitual behavior. Indirect influences come from media such as advertising, the addictive substance in a cigarette and following the footsteps of their favorite idols. This literature review is important to be used as a guide for our research to get the overview picture of reasons why people smoke.
Chapter III: Research Methodology
Research method has always been categorized into two major aspects, which are qualitative and quantitative. All the research methods can be classified into these two categories and some even have a mixed of both where the research method itself is having both characteristics. It is always which method is better to carry out the research and to which extend the method can be implied in the research as well as its nature to the whole research. Either ways of researching will have the exact same process path. There are several factors that are really important to be considered before choosing the method used in any research. Firstly, it is the research question itself, the nature of the research, the objective of the research and availability of time, cost and the data for that subject matter according to Hughes (2012). These factors have major influence in choosing the type of method to carry out the research as it can change the entire outcome of the research.
Quantitative is more objective based and spot on method whereby there is lesser errors can be made compared to qualitative. Quantitative methods are generally methods to carry out research that can be quantified for instance large-scale surveys and questionnaires. The data is quantifiable through linear programing software like excel and SPSS. One of the advantages of using quantitative method is reliability of the data and it is easier to manipulate the variables. This is because, even before the research is carried out, there is certain assumptions have been made and it generalizes the sample group behavior into category of variables. For instance, a group of sample has been filtered to behave in a certain manner that is homogenous among them. It does not include any variability that deviate from this group of similar behavior. Therefore it is easier to carry out the experiment yet skeptics do not assent to it. This is because it tends to filter out other samples, this the accuracy become iffy. Moreover, in a quantitative research method, the data obtained and the research process is easier because there is a structured paradigm that researchers can use. (Hughes, 2012) The data collected will be at least consistent and within the range of study. The other advantage is the researches done using quantitative can be a secondary sources of data to be used by other researchers as a guidelines due to its high reliability according to Hughes (2012). This method also possesses its disadvantages. This method consumes a lot of time and need large-scale numbers to make up the data. There is a possibility that researchers oversee certain variables and manipulate the variables wrongly.
Qualitative on the other hand is more subjective according to Hughes (2012) where measurements are basically based on interviews, literatures, opinions and perceptions depending on the experience, backgrounds, level of intelligence and values opted by the sample that been used for this type of research. It includes every different opinions of the hypothesis statement. On hindsight, it raises a disadvantage where it is hard to interpret the data and loop it into a pattern, which will conclude the research. It will leave the research open-ended based on its subjectivity. This method also will converge the subject matter to better insights as it welcomes opinions that are substantial. As a result, this will lead to a better perspective of the whole subject matter that is researching. There is also possibility having new aspect in looking of the research. This raises disadvantage, as it is not reliable where there could be biases or research subjects trying to conform into the nature of the hypothesis through influenced opinions. The data’s reliability is questionable and hardly can be reused again for other form of research. (Hughes, 2012).
Mixed method will have the characteristic of both quantitative and qualitative. Some examples have both characteristics that are large-scale surveys that includes open-ended questionnaires which possess the characteristic of an interview. Other examples might include forecasting research, scenario research, field experiments or focus group. Mixed method has always been advisable to be used. First method used will be determining the findings whereas the second method used can validate or further reinforce the findings. Having two methods is always better than having only one. According to Malina, Norreklit, and Selto, (2011) a combination of 2 methodologies will provide a comprehensive bird’s eye view rather than just one method. Quantitative will provide the framework for qualitative. One method usually has its own weaknesses but using a combination of both methods can focus on relevant strength to complement each other (Amaratunga, Baldry, Sarshar, and Newton, 2002). Ones disadvantages can be offset against by another advantages. Therefore, a combination of two methodologies is more practical and logical in carry out most of the researches.
In our research of carrying out the problem on the reasons people choose to smoke will have both research methodologies. There will be a basic mainframe of questionnaires with open-ended questions for a selected sample size. On the other hand, there will be an interview on the subject matter. Pertaining to the issue that we are researching, it is best to use qualitative approach as the reasons of people smoke is very subjective. Every opinion will be produced into different reasons. Yet, one method could not help to justify the research. Therefore, questionnaire is needed to complement the finding of this subject matter. In our research, we will use mixed methods between quantitative and qualitative to correlate the findings in order to produce a well-reliable outcome.
Chapter IV: Analysis of Methodology
Part A: Analysis of the Questionnaires (Quantitative Method)
A total number of 25 smoking sample of respondents were chosen for this research pertaining on reasons of people smoke. The sample was mainly from SEGi college, Prasarana Behard, Wisma UOA, and ALL IT Hypermarkets. It also includes a significant number of public transport passengers. These questionnaires are crafted in a way to build a deeper understanding on the factors that could lead people to smoke and distributed on 15th of October 2012 until 18th of October.
From the collected data, 48% of the respondents are females and the rest are males (Appendix 1.1.1). 8% stated they start smoking between 13 years old to 18 years old, same percentage of 32% started smoking between 16 to 18 and 19 to 23. The rest only started smoking when they were above 24 years old. None of the respondent started at a tender age of 13 years old (Appendix 1.1.2).
From the 25 respondents we selected, the highest percentage of 44% showed that they smoke between one year to 5 years. 36% stated that they have been smoking more than 5 years but less than 10 years, while 16% showed they have just started smoking for less than a year. Only 4% denotes that they smoke 10 years and more (Appendix 1.1.3).
More than half of the respondents showed that their family members are smokers, amounting to a percentage of 52%. The rest 48% are non-smoking family members (Appendix 1.1.4). On contradictory, 76% of the respondents disagree that their family encourage them to smoke their first cigarette. While only 25% agree and tend to agree that family influence has talked them into picking up their first cigarette (Appendix 1.1.5).
In these questionnaires conducted, 84% of friends and colleagues of this sample are smokers and the rest are non-smokers (Appendix 1.1.6). Out of that 56% disagree and tend to disagree that their friends and colleagues have a significant influence on them. The rest of the percentages agree and tend to agree on this factor (Appendix 1.1.7).
When it comes to role model on idols, a huge percentage of 76 said they never tried to emulate their role models or idols that smoke. 12% states sometimes and only a pittance amount of 4% said most of the time but none agree on the statement where they always try to emulate their idols (Appendix 1.1.8).
We tried to correlate on the factor whether high stress life could lead to higher amount of smokers and a huge percentage of the respondents revealed that they are living in the margin. 40% showed they are living in some stressful life, 32% were living in extensively stress life and 8% in completely stressful life while only a meager of 8% are living with little stress in life (Appendix 1.1.9).
A whopping number of 92% stated that they are not motivated to be smokers due to advertisements and the rest are said otherwise (Appendix 1.1.10). 72% of the respondents showed that movie or drama is not one of the driving forces that encourage them to be a smoker. Only 28% thinks that movie or drama has a significant impact on why they smoke (Appendix 1.1.11).
44% of the respondents agreed that smoking started with them due to a dare or a bet with their friends. And on the other hand 56% did not started of smoking as a dare or bet (Appendix 1.1.12). Based on the research it showed 52% and 24% of the sample disagree and tend to disagree respectively that smoking is a sign of maturity. 16% and 8% only tend to agree and agree that smoking denotes a sense of maturity (Appendix 1.1.13).
A huge percentage of 88% showed that the respondents realized smoking could harm their health prior before the smoke (Appendix 1.1.14). This is why the next question, 84% of the sample are smoking not just because the smell of the cigarette (Appendix 1.1.15). 68% did not get addicted to nicotine after their first cigarette and 32% addicted to it once they started (Appendix 1.1.15).
The average number of the cigarettes they smoker per day is between 5 to 10 sticks yielding the highest percentage of 52% while 28% smoke less than 5 cigarettes per day an 12% smokes between 11 to 20 sticks per day. Only 8% from the respondents smoke more than 20 sticks per day (Appendix 1.1.17). But none of the smokers limit themselves from smoking (Appendix 1.1.18).
92% of this sample actually wanted to quit smoking and only a meager amount of 8% does not want to quit smoking (Appendix 1.1.19). A high percentage showed that cigarette is considered expensive to them with a percentage of 60% and 20% stated it is very expensive and costly for them. While the remaining 20% feels cigarette cost is not taxing to them (Appendix 1.1.20).
More than half of the respondents, 52% always think smoking is bad for their health, 24% and 20% think that smoking is bad for their health most of the time and sometimes respectively. Only 4% thinks smoking is rarely bad for the health (Appendix 1.1.21). 44% of the respondents think smoking is somewhat important to them, 20% is important, 20% is very important and 8% is critically important to them. The rest of 8% thinks it is very unimportant to them (Appendix 1.1.23).
More than half of the respondents strongly agree and disagree with the statement on should smoking be banned? Both have 20% and 32% respectively. And 28% remained a neutral point of view neither agrees nor disagrees (Appendix 1.1.22). Only 4% and 16% disagree and strongly disagree that smoking is should be banned (Appendix 1.1.22).
The result of research shows that major factors that influence the sample to smoke is due to stress in their daily life. Second factor is the encouragement from friends and colleagues. Even though a huge number disagree that family has an influence on them but majority of the respondents’ family are smokers as well. A huge number did not know they are addicted to nicotine and an overwhelming number of people have the intention of quitting smoking and most of them realize smoking is harmful to their health.
Part B: Analysis of the Interview (Qualitative Method)
Another form of method that we used to analyze our subject of research is via qualitative approach through first hand interview with Datin Devagey Raru on Oct 16, 2012. She is the Head of Faculty of Nursing in SEGi Kuala Lumpur University College. She has a stream of very accomplished education with SRN & SCM (MOH), Diploma in Education (UM), Diploma in Psychology (UKM), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (UK) and Master in Counseling (UM). With such a strong credential person, is the candid person to be interviewed with our subject of research pertaining to reason on “Why people smoke as she has a vast knowledge and perspective in terms of psychological of people?”
Our interview questions have been arranged in such way that major influencing factors on why people smoke and will be discussed with Datin further in depth. We will then analyze the importance based on the degree of emphasize that we put in certain factors.
On the first question itself, Datin did not agree with people who smoke because it is bad for health and it affects the people around the smokers. Studies have shown that smoking and cancer have huge correlation due to the content, which is carcinogenic (Appendix 1.2.2). It also has bad consequences in terms of monetary whereby smokers are burning their money away with deteriorating their health. An overall, it shows that Datin has a negative perception like most of us when it comes to smoking habit as she disagree bluntly with the habits of smoking. (Appendix 1.2.2)
In general, there are few factors that Datin mentioned, which leads back to our structured interview questions that are influence of the family, physiological and psychological needs, peers and colleagues influence, acceptance, and also media and advertisement influence.
The first factor we have discussed on needs of physiological and psychological of smokers. Why is smoking so addictive and it is difficult for smokers to quit once they started? According to Datin, people do not get addicted on the first trial, and usually on a subsequent continuous repeating habit of smoking, unnoticing they became dependent on it. This is because the nicotine is contained in the cigarettes itself and smokers felt that they have an urge to smoke at certain hour, physiologically they need it. (Appendix 1.2.4)
The major influencing factors that lead to smoking habit is family. Datin mentioned that early environment plays an important factor for people, as children will role model after their parents. If parents who smoke, it will give an image to their children that it is an acceptable behavior, as they respect and emulate the acts of their parents, thinking all the actions are good (Appendix 1.2.6). When the parents trying to stop, it is too late as they have become addicted. A psychologist, Albert Bandura talks vastly on role modeling. When we respect our parents or siblings, will we try to emulate their action, just wanting to be like them (Appendix 1.2.6).
Environment at home also plays an important role in impacting the people that smokes (Appendix 1.2.7). Great emphasize has been placed in children and young adults as that is the age when they pick up smoking habit (Appendix 1.2.7). Parents that do not provide a conducive environment and not attentive to their children’s development will have their children more incline in picking up smoking habit (Appendix 1.2.7). According to a famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, everyone needs to be accepted, loved and attention (Appendix 1.2.7). The need to feel a sense of belonging is no longer provided at home; therefore they look out for peers for this love (Appendix 1.2.7).
This leads to another factor that people are inclined to smoke, which is peers and colleague influence. As it said earlier, children or youth who do not get the attention and love from home will look out for love from outside environment (Appendix 1.2.7). Major time will be spend with their friends and mixing with the wrong kind will lead to picking up smoking habit. This is because a person will do something like smoking to be accepted in a group (Appendix 1.2.8). In some cases, they pick up smoking because with smoking, at least the parents will pay attention to them; despite it is in a negative way (Appendix 1.2.8).
Other reasons such as self-image and media have a correlation to each other (Appendix 1.2.9, Appendix 1.2.10). Media has huge influence in shaping our generation and using the psychology of advertising and marketing in order to entice consumers to buy certain goods and services, they tend to portray the ‘cool’ image of smoking leading to a huge influence on youths of today (Appendix 1.2.9, Appendix 1.2.10). At one stage of a life, a person will look for their identity. They will try to emulate what looks good ignoring the all the negative consequences that comes with it (Appendix 1.2.9).
Psychological issue, identity crisis also happens within a family where parents forbid their children to smoke yet they are smoking. This creates a conflict within the children (Appendix 1.2.9). Psychologist Erickson talks in depth about personality development on identity crisis when conflict with oneself happens (Appendix 1.2.9).
This shows that most of the contributing factors listed in our discussion have a weightage in influencing people to pick up the smoking habit. The root of this issue has been emphasizing on family upbringing and early childhood development where environment is a crucial factor that influence a person to smoke. This reason also leads to another factor where children will look for attention and love in external environment and leads to picking up this bad habit. Basically, we have to recognize the core issue of smoking in order to combat this matter before a person gets addicted. In many sense it is difficult to stop smoking once they are hooked to it as it explained earlier it is more of physiological needs.
Chapter 5: Conclusion and Recommendations
According to our empirical research, the major influencing factor that leads to smoking habit is family influence. Parents that do not provide a favorable environment and pay no attention or less attention to their children’s development will lead them picking up the smoking habit. Early childhood development and environment plays a huge factor. This is because parents are the role models for their children and they will emulate most of the acts of their parents thinking that is the right thing to do. This goes for smoking habit as well. More than half of the 25 respondents from our smoking sample collected using quantitative analysis stated that their family members are smokers as well but 76% disagree that their family members influence them to start smoking. The result shows that the data collected for that two questions are not congruent to each other. They might be highly influenced from their family unnoticing. The data collected might be biased because factors that lead to smoking could be deriving from family influence and respondents themselves do not know exactly how it had actually impact them. Plus, some of the respondents intend to protect their family image when answering the questionnaires. Cumulative factors that lead them to smoke such as physiological needs, peer and colleague influences and media or advertisement influence have major detrimental effects on the people without them noticing the core factor of the smoking. Family may play indirect role to our respondents but definitely a major influence.
Furthermore, our research shows that personal issue is also one of the important factors that encourage them to smoke. According to our quantitative research, the result shows that 40% of respondents are having stress life; 32% of respondents are having extensively high stress life, and of 8% having the completely high stress level of their life. On the qualitative side, Datin said that people do not get addicted on the first trial, but by continuous repetition of the habit, and finally they became dependent on it. The research shows that total of 80% of respondents are having a high stress life, and 68% of respondents do not get addicted to nicotine on their first trial. Therefore most of the respondents smoke is because they want to release the stress from their normal daily life. Finally they have become so dependent on it and will smoke whenever they get agitated or feeling uneasy.
If the needs do not received from the home, children will look these needs in all the wrong places and easily get influence by others. Therefore, it leads to another factor that encourage people to smoke, which is peer and colleague influence. But this only happens when family do not provide enough love and affections at home. Peers and colleagues influence are secondary. The result of quantitative research shows that 84% of respondents stated that their friends or colleagues are smoker. But, 40% of respondents disagree that their friends or colleagues encourage them to smoke their first cigarette. 40% of respondents start smoking as a dare or on a bet from friends. Despite the data shows that most of the respondents friends are smoker but they are not the first group that encourage them to smoke yet a huge number start smoking from a bet. Peers and colleagues are an important factor that leads to smoking as well but not as important as family influence because this factor would not exist if children can obtain love and attention from their haven. There is also a chance that the respondents are not spending more time with their friends or colleague, but the devote majority of the time to their family.
In conclusion, our research shows that the major influencing factor to smoke is family, then follow by the personal issue such as stress life, and then peer and colleague influence. Our recommendations pertaining on this issue highly focuses on the core factors that lead to smoking and from there we will derive ways to halt this bad habit. In order to curb the smoking issue we have to go in depth to the root of the issue and fix it from t